Friday, 20 March 2009

Simplifying Digital Cable Deployment

How can you simplify digital cable deployment without breaking the bank? Leaving aside the fact that some of our banks seem to be broken already, few would deny that digital cable has been slow to develop in India, as while the market is incredibly dynamic it is also fragmented. This often requires a highly complex planning process when it comes to rollout. “Not only does India have a huge number of cable systems ranging from large MSOs to many local operators, but it also has to face the major obstacle of signal piracy,” says Jeremy Thorp, CEO at Latens, the UK-based software Conditional Access System (CAS) and middleware vendor for digital Pay TV. Then there’s the challenging prospect of competing head-to-head with the nation's new fleet of satellite TV providers with a service that offers better quality of viewing, and most importantly at an attractive price. In addition, the Indian government has recently mandated the adoption of a CAS (Conditional Access System) for cable operators, which many end users and operators believe may considerably raise the cost of pay TV service delivery. With such a downward pressure on finances, it’s not altogether surprising to see the emergence of budget revenue protection systems that seem to be almost too good to be true. But as ever, you get what you pay for, Thorp warns.
“Many vendors will make you a good deal on the wrong technology for your digital cable TV network,” he says. “Don’t be fooled by claims about the additional security of smartcards or by the idea that they are the most cost-effective way to secure your premium content. “The real trick is to save money on a CAS system that will meet your business needs now and in the future, with a company that will work closely with you to ensure that you grow and give your subscribers the best service.”
So what’s wrong with adopting a traditional pay-TV system if it appears to be cheaper to implement? “When a cable operator chooses legacy smartcard CAS technology, they must consider all the costs,” says Thorp. “Latens has set out to eliminate or substantially reduce the costs of deploying and managing CAS systems with a new generation of applications that do not require a smart card or embedded chip, but instead use a secure software module (SSM) which can be downloaded over the network. Latens software CAS therefore removes the logistics costs of deployment, such as mailing, storage and handling that are generated in addition to the card costs.”
With such a downward pressure on finances, it’s not altogether surprising to see the emergence of budget revenue protection systems that seem to be almost too good to be true. But as ever, you get what you pay for, Thorp warns.
Indeed when it comes to CAS, Thorp unashamedly believes that Latens is the world’s premiere software vendor. “It is a highly secure, cost-effective technology combined with a company offering unparalleled industry experience and high quality customer service,” he claims, adding that all of these factors are absolutely vital if a smooth roll out of digital cable TV is to be achieved.
“The most effective conditional access system is the one that maximises the operator’s profits, so clearly there is a balance of how much to spend to stem any losses, enable the content marketing models, and achieve the maximum amount of revenue.” But according to Thorp, reducing the deployment and growth costs when rolling out a digital cable network isn’t the only thing that Latens has to offer. “At Latens we understand the digital Pay TV industry and our senior management and technical staff are all extremely experienced Pay TV professionals. This gives us the combination of knowledge, products, the right partners and people to remove the major obstacles in deploying digital cable TV within budget and timescales.”
So while Indian cable operators still lag behind their counterparts in Europe, North America and South America, these are all markets from which Latens has learned a great deal. “We are eager to bring these lessons to bear for operators seeking to enter or expand within the hugely exciting Indian cable TV market,” says Thorp. With over 100 successful deployments world wide including major IPTV, Cable and hybrid networks, the company has a wealth of experience and success in the industry – and is at the heart of an ambitious plan by DigiCable to develop a pay-TV base of some 12m subscribers.
“We also work with all the major STB, VOD and industry vendors, so no matter what your requirements, we can develop a unique ecosystem to meet your needs in conjunction with our partners,” he adds.
Of course, as they say in the UK and elsewhere, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. “I encourage Indian MSO’s and Cable operators to come talk to Latens about their network, no matter what size or how complex, and tell us what they want to achieve,” says Thorp. “I am convinced that Latens has CAS solutions to suit any digital Pay TV operation from Cable, DTT and DTH to IPTV, and indeed any hybrid combination of these. And remember that as all of our solutions are software only, the costs and complexity of integrated deployment is considerably reduced,” he concludes.
If you are interested in finding out more about Latens CAS and solutions for digital Pay TV please visit, or see our CAS for cable and MHEG applications at Convergence India, Delhi, from 18-20 March 2009 on Booth E-120. 
About Latens Latens is leading the way in fully DVB® compliant software Conditional Access and Middleware, enabling operators of IPTV and broadband Pay TV networks around the world to securely deliver next generation entertainment services to set-top boxes, PCs, mobile devices and home networks. With offices in Atlanta, Singapore and Belfast, Latens’ customer base stretches to over 100 installations in more than 20 countries.


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